The guilt tears at Nico; he was unfaithful to the mother of his child. But as long as Jacklyn never finds out, he can make up for it.
"You really are wonderful," Jacklyn sighs as he showers her with love. He isn't, he thinks, but he's trying. really trying.
"Jacklyn," he says, getting down onto his knee, "This belonged to my nonna. She left it to me, to give to the woman I marry. My grandfather wasn't a rich man, so this ring is very simple. I can buy you a better one, if you want. But to propose to you, I need to use this ring."
"I don't want a better ring," Jacklyn says, "I love this one. I love you."
"I'm sorry I've been so cranky lately, and that I haven't been very passionate," Jacklyn says.
"It's all right, Jacklyn," Nico says, "I can wait for you."
"Let's go now," she says, leading him up to their bed.
"I know you want to be married before the baby is born, but I don't want to be fat at my wedding."
"Jacklyn, if I didn't know you were pregnant, I'd never be able to tell. You aren't fat. And I'm starting to worry about you, you don't eat enough. We can have the wedding whenever you want," Nico says, "But you need to stop worrying about being fat, and worry more about feeding yourself."
Though he's not much of a cook, Nico decides to take matters into his own hands and feed Jacklyn properly. No more of these salads.
His phone rings while they're having lunch.
"Hey, it's Marilyn," the voice says.
"What do you want?" he asks, trying not to sound suspicious, with Jacklyn sitting right there.
"You, of course," she answers with a throaty laugh, "Meet me at the Derby, in the exclusive lounge, tonight. Say around 8? That's early enough to give us some private time."
"All right, I'll be there," he says. He can't exactly explain his situation to her over the phone while Jacklyn is in the room. But out in a public venue, he can tell Marilyn that what he did with her was a mistake that can never happen again. And then it will be over.
"That was Bill, he needs me to go to this thing tonight."
Jacklyn sighs, "I'm sorry you have to bear the brunt of Bill's machine," she says, "Believe me, I know what it's like. At least being pregnant has spared me that."
"It's part of the job," Nico says, hating that he has to lie to her. But it's for the last time. "I don't mind."
Marilyn was waiting for him in a dark corner of the Derby's exclusive lounge, open only to celebrities. No paparazzi will witness this rendezvous.
"Listen, Marilyn, I have a girlfriend--a fiancee," Nico says, remembering his newly engaged status, "We're having a baby. What happened between you and me..."
"Was just a fling," Marilyn finishes for him, "I know that Nico. I'm not looking for a partner. We're just having fun."
"I can't have 'fun' with you anymore," Nico says, "I'm not---"
"Nico Petrangelo!" their conversation is interrupted by a newcomer, "I'm such a huge fan of your band."
"I'm going to get something to eat," Marilyn says, leaving him alone with his huge fan. Nico wonders how this girl got past the bouncers.
"I saw your show at the Arena," the girl says, sitting next to him as Marilyn walks away. Nico just hopes he got his message across to her and that everything is settled between them. "You guys were amazing. And I'm so happy to get to meet you before we work together."
"Thanks," Nico says, trying to be gracious, "But, what do you mean 'before we work together'? Who are you?"
"I'm Debbie Gillespie," she says, "I'm doing a photo shoot with you tomorrow. My usual gig is with Victoria's Secret, but your label offered me a huge deal to pose with you. I've even been in a few rock videos."
"Ah, okay," Nico says, "I knew about the shoot, but Bill didn't tell me models would be involved."
"I guess Jacklyn won't be there?" Debbie asks, looking both disappointed and hopeful at the same time.
"No, she gets to be on hiatus while she's pregnant," Nico says.
"Could I trouble you to get her autograph for me?" she says, "I've been a fan of hers even before you were with the band."
"I'm sure she'll be happy to sign something for you," Nico says, relieved that this model isn't a groupie he's going to have to fend off. He has enough female attention to deal with right now.
Nico runs into Marilyn again near the restrooms.
"There you are," she purrs, "I believe we have unfinished business."
"I think our business is finished," Nico says, but he moves closer to her, attracted to her like a magnet.
"How ungallant," Marilyn chides him, "To just walk away from me after I pleasured you. You owe me, Nico."
Nico blushes, "Marilyn, I'm sorry, I can't..."
Marilyn smiles, and turns toward the dressing room behind her, beckoning him to follow with a crook of her finger.
He could have walked away, but his feet pulled him forward.
"Here we are, Nico, completely alone. No witnesses, no paparazzi. What are you going to do?" she asks, her voice heavy and seductive.
Nico knows what he should do, what he came to do, but in her presence, he loses his will to do anything but give in to his basest desires.